12 Tips to Improving your Communication Skills: Part 1

Improve your Communication Skills. Now.

In the previous posts on this topic, we emphasized the importance of communication skills for students. To follow up on this topic, we have some more tips ready for you.

And why twelve? As Joe Smith, TED speaker, points out, there are twelve apostles, twelve tribes, twelve zodiac signs, twelve months, and it is the biggest number with one syllable. So, here we are now, ready to enlighten you with the secrets of how adequate communication can do miracles for you and your success.

Let’s get started.

 #1 Set goals to track progress in communication

This will help you keep track of your progress and create a great deal of motivation. Setting a goal, for instance, making my teammates listen to and understand my viewpoints at least twice during a meeting, will push you (to a certain extent) to carry out the actions instead of just thinking in your head. It would be best if you can set a reward for yourself when you accomplish all goals within a period!

 #2 Prepare mentally

If you are not that confident or you do not feel comfortable at all when talking with people, it is better to prepare mentally before actually doing the talks. Ask yourself first, what would be the worst scenario if I could not say anything good? Or what are the good things that can happen if I speak up?
Communication Skills
Don’t be afraid of failing. Everyone makes mistakes. Making a mistake will contribute to your future development and success. On the other hand, the inability to communicate your thoughts and ideas will be more likely to lead to people’s misunderstanding of your actions, and spreading wrong perceptions about you.

#3 Think before you act 

Whether it is a presentation, a speech, or normal conversations, preparation is one of the key factor in making the process go well. It helps you organize your ideas and deal with interactive questions. Depending on the topic of discussion, the type of discussion and and your own strengths, the length for preparation will be different – from a couple of seconds in your head up to multiple days, weeks or in some cases even years! In short, think before you act.

The preparation can be done well, but do remember to take all courage and speak up. Your preparation will be obsolete if you don’t do so!

Do not let your efforts be wasted just because you are not comfortable in expressing your mind with others. You don’t necessarily have to bean assertive person, however you should try being an expressive one. Your ideas and thoughts are as valuable as those of the other people, so they should be heard!
Communication Skills

#4 Listen effectively and reflectively

Critical listening is essential in any type of conversation. It is better not to jump into conclusions, or to make premature judgments, without backing it up with facts. It is not a good idea to solve a problem without the presence of required facts. Hence, do ask “why” for reasons behind any personal comments, statements, or gossips. Let’s gather information objectively and avoid personal bias, especially when hearing a story from another person.

If you are not sure about the content, confirm and ask the specific person whether what you have heard is correct. This will minimize the chances of misunderstandings.

#5 Pay attention to non-verbal communication 

Yes, non-verbal signals can tell a good story by themselves. However use them wisely so they don’t backfire against you! Non-verbal communication includes facial expressions, eye contacts, body postures/ gestures, the tone and pitch of voice, as well the distance between the speaker and listeners. Being able to use and to interpret those signals can help you produce effective communication.

Non-verbal language can be a powerful & risky weapon in communication. However since this is a large topic on its own, we decided to give the topic the spotlight it deserves.

#6 Use words that people will understand 

Don’t try to be super smart; using words that people don’t understand may lead them to being perplexed (pun indented). Well, not to that extent, but simple and ordinary words will be more effective during daily talks. Difficult words can only complicate problems and can be very easy to be misunderstood. Choose words that really symbolize what you mean and can be understandable by others.

Take the time to utilize these tips. Once you are ready, you can move on to the next 6 tips on how to improve your communication skills. 

What strategies do you use to improve your communication skills?